Pack your knits — these top Scottish glampsites are open all year round

CAMPING holidays can be great but they aren't for everyone.

These glampsites in Scotland are open all year round and even the most reluctant camper will enjoy.

THE ROMANTIC ONE

Roulotte Retreat, near Melrose

THE PAD As far away from a modern mobile home as it’s possible to get, Roulotte Retreat boasts genuine French-built gypsy caravans. Owner Avril Berry has lovingly dressed each roulotte with its own style, like the Indian-inspired Maharani.

Some boast their own alfresco eco hot tubs, and each one enjoys the peaceful adults-only vibe, plus the dreamy duck pond at the heart of this meadow site.

As well as being deliciously romantic, the roulottes are practical, too, with wood-burning stoves, showers and seriously comfortable beds. My wife Jenny and I love this oasis so much we try to escape here every year.

EXPLORE Melrose Abbey is the grandest of the Borders’ Abbeys and is ideal for rambling around. Entry costs £6 (Historicenvironment.scot). Writer Sir Walter Scott loved the area, too – visit Abbotsford to learn more about the great man while discovering a grand house on the banks of the River Tweed that’s straight out of Downton Abbey.

Entry costs £11.50 (Scottsabbotsford.com). And don’t miss the chance to hike like the Romans. On their forays north of Hadrian’s Wall, they built temporary hill camps, including in the Eildon Hills, where the views are sensational (Walkhighlands.co.uk/borders/eildon-hills.shtml)

REFUEL The market town of Melrose is a 20-minute drive away, and you’ll find The Country Kitchen Deli and Martin Baird Butchers for fantastic local produce. Or tuck into smoked Tweed salmon, £11.50, and delicious Borders lamb, £22.50, at old-world Burts Hotel (Burtshotel.co.uk).

Alternatively, drive 15 minutes to Newtown St Boswells and pop into Hunters Stables for delicious pasta or a metre-long pizza with three toppings that’s perfect for sharing, £29.90 (Huntersstables.co.uk).

BOOK IT Roulotte stays for two cost from £120 a night (Roulotteretreat.com).

THE FAMILY ONE

Alexandra House, Auchterarder

THE PAD This hideaway in the Ochil Hills may be just an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, but it has the wild air of the Highlands. In the grounds of Alexander House, you’ll find two cosy Mongolian yurts with wood-burning stoves, a proper double bed, a sofa and a wee side-tent with standalone bath.

On the decking, there’s also a wood-fired hot tub and barbecue with sweeping views over Perthshire. New this year is Juniper, an old 7.5 tonne Leyland horse truck converted into a glamping den for two adults and two kids, with a small bed tucked above the double, as well as space for your pooch.

Complete with an outdoor barbecue, plus – unlike the yurts – electricity, this is one of the most fun places we’ve ever stayed with our daughters Tara, 12, and Emma, nine.

EXPLORE A heather-kissed hill rises behind the site, so don your walking boots to trek forest tracks and spot eagles and deer. Afterwards, enjoy a wee dram at Tullibardine Distillery just down the road.

A 45-minute tour costs from £9 per person (Tullibardine.com). Or canoe down the River Tay with beavers – yes, really! Ace guide Piotr at Outdoor Explore guides families up the Tay, Scotland’s longest river, in search of the creatures. Three-hour trips cost from £50 per person (Outdoorexplore.co.uk).

REFUEL In nearby Auchterarder, Simon Howie is one of Scotland’s finest butchers. Click then collect your prime fillet steaks, bangers or meat packs, from £15, (Thescottishbutcher.com). And pop by Cafe Kisa, a bright little cafe/bistro on Auchterarder’s main street.

Go local with the Rob Roy Burger, topped with haggis and a Drambuie sauce, £9.95. The cafe will also deliver hampers of supplies from £30 (Kisas.co.uk). Come dinner, feel like the lady of the manor at mega resort Gleneagles, where you can tuck into mussels with fries, £14.75, at the Birnam Brasserie (Gleneagles.com).

BOOK IT Glamping stays for up to four costs from £175 a night (Alexanderhousescotland.com).

THE ECO ADVENTURE ONE

Comrie Croft, Crieff

THE PAD Your snug Scandinavian-style canvas kata tent sleeps six (at a squeeze!) on a wooded hillside in Perthshire. Yes, it is basic, but stoke up your campfire and cosy up on fake animal skins and you’ll soon be unleashing your inner Bear Grylls.

Hot showers and a tiny shop are conveniently nearby, plus the farm shop on site sells lamb from Carroglen Farm a few miles away – perfect for a feast under the stars.

EXPLORE Comrie Croft is cycling heaven – its bike shop is spot on with guidance and gear before you hit the network of trails for adrenaline-pumping adventures. Bike hire is £30 a day for adults and from £20 for children (Comriecroftbikes.co.uk). Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre is a favourite with my girls.

You can get face to face with meerkats and ponies, plus it’s one of the few places where you can spy Scottish wildcats up close. Family tickets for two adults and two kids cost £33 (Auchingarrich.co.uk).

Or hike to the Deil’s Cauldron near Comrie to see the River Lednock cascading down a rocky, forested gorge. Follow the circuit from Comrie, stopping by the viewpoint at the Melville Monument, too (Walkhighlands.co.uk/perthshire/deils-cauldron.shtml).


REFUEL Tuck into Allison’s home baking at Comrie Croft’s Tea Garden, cakes from £2. It’s easy to see why the Mediterranean-influenced Comrie’s Deil’s Cauldron is popular with the locals, too. Pop in for a bowl of soup with bread for a fiver at lunch, or tuck into rump of Perthshire lamb, £19.90, come dinner (Deilscauldron.co.uk).

For light lunches and home-baking head for Hansen’s Kitchen (Facebook.comhansenskitchen) and feast on ginger cookie sandwiches and decadent raspberry and almond brownies.

BOOK IT Kata tents sleep up to six and cost from £99 a night (Comriecroft.com).

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